Who’s a good boy? You are! Yes, you are! These furry sidekicks are there with you through thick and thin, looking adorable while sniffing out explosives, fetching new weapons, and occasionally biting your enemies in the unmentionables. Get the doggy treats on standby, as these are the very best good boys on Xbox.
15: Dinki-Di – Mad Max
The wastelands can be a harsh place, what with the endless sand and pretty much everyone you meet wanting to kill you for no reason, so it’s nice to find a companion that’ll accept you know matter how many people you murder or how badly your breath smells of dog food. Heck, it probably even helps that all you have to eat is ancient tins of canine chow as it means you’ll have something in common with the lovable scruffbag that is Dinki-Di. Just as long as you don’t take his dinner or tug on his tail, that is. He’ll even sniff out mines for you if you manage to find him. He is the very definition of a good boy.
14: Pompidou – Life is Strange
Not all dogs have it easy, and some have had it really tough. Take poor Pompidou, who was rescued from a life of dog- fighting by Frank and now lives with him in his trailer. While he’ll never be your companion, he’s fiercely loyal to Frank and is often misunderstood. He may try to bite you, but he’s only trying to protect his owner – you can’t hold that against him after everything he’s been through. Tread carefully or you might end up hurting this pupper even if you didn’t mean to, and we’ll never talk to you again. You puppy-treading monster.
13: Repede – Tales of Vesperia
Not only does this wuff-wuff make for an excellent member of your fighting party by dishing out some cool backflips and knife strikes, he also smokes a pipe. He’s so fast that he can steal items from opponents for the benefit of the party, and is as loyal as they come. That pipe and blade he uses in combat are mementos of his former owner who died in battle. Now he’s best buds with the game’s main hero, Yuri, and while he might not appreciate strangers trying to pet him he’s very good with children.
12: Dog – Stardew Valley
Want to know how to make an idyllic farm life even better? Get a dog. A pooch will turn up on your doorstep pretty early on in Spring to keep you company while you harvest your first crop of turnips. While he can’t do much except roam around your farm barking and looking cute, you can still top up his water bowl and pet it lovingly every day. It’ll even curl up by the fire as night time draws in or if it’s stormy outside. It might just be a handful of pixels, but this wuffer still packs plenty of personality and makes your go at farm life cosier.
11: Umbra – Final Fantasy 15
Cute, great for cuddling and can magically travel insane distances to deliver messages – Umbra has it all. Acting as the go-between for Prince Noctis and his Oracle fiancé Lunafreya, he carries a lovers’ notebook so they can pass notes to each other instead of using the phone like normal people. Then he really steps it up a notch when the world starts falling apart by helping you travel through time to explore earlier areas of the game, which is especially handy if you need to do some level grinding before the last section. If that’s not a good boy, we don’t know what is.
10: Shadow – Dead to Rights
Who needs a human partner to help you do all of your police work when you have a dog like Shadow at your side? He doesn’t have the thumbs to help with the administrative side of things, but he is capable of helping you in a fight. You can command him to attack, or go for the stealthy, silent takedown approach by ripping out the throats of unsuspecting bad guys. Or he can go for the testicles. Lovely. To be fair, he’s also really good at playing fetch... with weapons, so you can kill even more nasty types. Truly he is a best friend.
9: Riley – Call of Duty: Ghosts
Being part of an elite military squad can be tough, with all that shooting and running around, so thankfully Riley is on hand to provide support and slobbery kisses. Able to sniff out explosives so you don’t hurt yourself, he’s incredibly handy to have around, and always looks cute. You can control him remotely via his little tech backpack to scout out ahead of you, and he’s even been known to take down helicopters by ripping the pilot from their seat. He also likes to ride shotgun in tanks. That’s one well-trained pupper who deserves a day in the doggy spa!
8: Meeko – Skyrim
All of the best dogs seem to come with sad stories that only make us love them more. Meeko can be found near his dead owner’s shack faithfully guarding his corpse. The poor, big-eyed fluffbag is all alone, and only someone completely heartless would leave him behind and not take him on as a friend. Aside from companionship, he proves his worth by helping you out on your travels, even if he does have a bad habit of trying to trip you up by blocking doorways and picking fights with dragons. It’s impossible to stay mad at his droopy face.
7: Dog – Fable 2
There’s no stronger bond than between a child and their waggly tailed chum growing up together, even if the kid does grow up to be a bit of a dick. Fable 2 gives you the perfect example of this – you meet an adorable furry scamp when you’re a kid during the intro sequence and he remains at your side for the entirety of the game, sniffing out loot and helping you take down bad guys. Your doggy friend will always look up to you and adore you, no matter how evil and scarred you become. It’s part of what makes dogs the best creatures on the planet (sorry, cat fans, but it’s time to accept the truth).
6: Sif – Dark Souls 2
Know what’s better than a dog? More dog. The bigger they are the more surface area for chin scritches and belly-rubbing. Sif is as big as they come and would be the best dog for cuddling if only she didn’t have to kill you. Sorry about that. It’s not her fault, though, because she’s actually protecting the grave of Artorias, so is attacking you out of duty. It’s not her fault that it leaves you bloodied and possibly dead. It’s particularly guilt-inducing when she starts limping and you realise what you’re doing to this majestic beast. Poor doggo, you really deserved better.
5: Chop – Grand Theft Auto 5
He’s one of the more slobbery entries in this list, but Chop more than makes up for his drool by being a great companion for Franklin. The mean streets of Los Santos are made far better with Chop trotting at your side, helping you out in any unwanted fights, and riding in the passenger seat of any car you take a fancy to. Best of all, he knows how to play a proper game of fetch if you have the right item and will actually bring a ball back for you to pick up and throw again. You can also customise his collar with your phone. So why don’t you put the guns down and relish the best things in life with Chop by your side?
4: Dog – Half-life 2
Okay, so this one falls more at the metallic, robot end of the pupper scale, which doesn’t make him very good for petting unless you want a palmful of rust, but he’s got bags of character and a sweet demeanour. If he had a tail, he’d be wagging it constantly. He wants nothing more than to please you, which is just super sweet, and he often goes above and beyond by throwing cars at handfuls of enemies at a time. He’s also incredibly loyal to your good friend and sidekick Alyx despite his superior strength. What a good boy! Now please take out all our enemies.
3: Mabari War Hound – Dragon Age: Origins
It’s fun to have party members that you can flirt with and romance while out on adventures, but do you know what’s even better than the love and touch of your fellow man? Doggos. Some advice from your kindly and knowledgeable OXM pals: Replace a human entirely in Dragon Age: Origins by taking a friendly war hound with you instead. He’ll fight just as hard as the others and give you some nice ‘kisses’ too. No need to worry now if Morrigan or Alistair shun your advances, your pup will have you back all the way to the Deep Roads.
2: Dogmeat – Fallout
The only way you can make a normal dog even better than it already is by giving it an outfit. Dogmeat’s fetching red neckerchief is what nets him the second spot on this list. That and his constant companionship in the ghoul-filled wastes of the post-apocalypse. He’s exceptionally handy at retrieving items for you from far-away places, and will always approve of your actions, no matter how malicious or manipulative you can be. He’ll even help you out in fights. Make sure you build him a little house of his own in your settlement, even if its only purpose is to make him look even more adorable when he’s napping in it. Sweet, sweet dogmeat, we only wish we could craft him some more neckerchiefs.
1: D-Dog – Metal Gear Solid 5
It was tough, but thanks to his darling little eye patch and all-round sweet visage, D-Dog is officially the top dog on Xbox. Not only is he a dab-hand at taking down or distracting guards for you, he also sniffs out all possible enemies before you can see them yourself, and he’s got his own sneaking suit complete with silicon dog mittens and safety goggles to match yours. What a fashionable babe!
Okay, sure, D-Horse can defecate on command (eww), and Quiet can snipe enemies on your behalf, but D-Dog is still the best of the MGS5 companions due to sheer nose power alone. Stuck in a sandstorm and can’t even see the base you’re trying to infiltrate? No problem for D-Dog – he’ll sniff out every last guard and mark them on the screen for you so you’re know what you’re dealing with. He’s also not afraid to tell you that you stink when you haven’t showered in a while by covering his poor little schnoz. That’s true friendship! Truly he is the best of the good boys, so you better not fight us on this, readers.
This article originally appeared in Xbox: The Official Magazine. For more great Xbox coverage, you can subscribe here.